32¢ Joshua Johnson
Four Centuries of American Art
Issue Date: August 27, 1998
City: Santa Clara, CA
Printed By: Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Folk artist Joshua Johnson (1763-1832) was the first African American to make his living by painting. Little is known about Johnson, who was a member of Baltimore’s free African American community.
Johnson produced many portraits of Baltimore’s prominent families, ship captains and local merchants. Stiff limbs, three-quarter view of the body, and objects held by the subject are hallmarks of Johnson’s artistic style. One of his most famous works, The Westwood Children, is displayed in the National Gallery of Art.